Investigating the report of the International Crisis Group (ICG) entitled ‘Armenia and Azerbaijan: preventing war’, one automatically comes to the conclusion that it was written exclusively for convincing Armenia to 'soften' its positions in the negotiation process, in particular, on the issue of the final status of Nagorno Karabakh.
As we know, the positions of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic in the negotiation process are presented today by the Republic of Armenia, in the part delegated to it by the NKR. But, all the actors of the peacemaking process, as well as the public sector, which is interested in the peaceful settlement of the Azerbaijani-Karabakh conflict, including the ICG, must consider the fact that the final decision should be made by the NKR people and authorities.
Another matter is the fairness of the report, which is written thousands of kilometers from Nagorno Karabakh and the authors of which haven’t visited the NKR at all, even for the sake of propriety. Let alone the fact that recently, Director of the ICG European Program Sabina Freiser has settled down in Istanbul, from where, basing on the publications in the mass media and often on unreal data, gives recommendations to the conflicting parties. But, only one visit to the NKR is enough for both comprehending the essence of the conflict and making sure of the Republic’s efficiency and viability.
Actually, the ICG offers to settle the conflict’s consequences and not the conflict itself, which just adds fuel to the fire in the conditions of extreme tension between the parties' societies. Sabina Freiser, maybe without realizing this, creates a new crisis situation, which, in fact, the Azerbaijani-Turkish tandem seeks for attempting to resolve on the quiet the issue in its own way. It isn't accidental that Freiser assigns Ankara the role of the basic regulator in the region and a mediator in the Karabakh issue settlement. So, it is time to rename the International Crisis Group into Crisis Creation Group.
Surely, those in Artsakh share the ICG concerns about the possible war resumption in any moment, which will lead to unprecedented destructive consequences for the entire region. But, similar reports should note the specific creators of the emerged explosive situation. The tension on the contact-line is the result of Azerbaijan's purposeful policy for the recent years. In the conditions of the increasing militant rhetoric and moods in Azerbaijan, the soft position of the mediators and foreign states' representatives is strange, while they had to flatly condemn President Aliev long ago, calling upon him to refuse of the policy of threats and to negotiate with the basic party to the conflict – the Nagorno Karabakh Republic. Unfortunately, the ICG proposals cannot resolve principle conflicts. The tactics of small concessions in favor of the aggressive party will only whet its appetite.
War should be opposed by the NKR recognition and not by signing a frame agreement or other half measures. Speeding up the signing of an agreement on the basic principles, without the detailed elaboration of all its key provisions, will become ‘a delayed action mine' under the entire peace process.
In the current situation, the soonest realization of confidence-building measures, both military and civic, is needed. The international community should establish direct relations with Nagorno Karabakh. The NKR integration into the international processes is about the only tool in the international community's arsenal for resisting the situation's running into a new war. The international community's ignoring of the NKR in favor of Azerbaijan only strengthens the latter’s confidence of its own right to new aggression.
The international community should not repeat its mistake made in early 1990s, when the recognition of Azerbaijan’s right to self-determination and rejection of Nagorno Karabakh's similar right were accepted by Azerbaijan as a carte blanche for realizing wide-scale aggression against the NKR and suppressing its people's will. Isn't it time to learn a lesson from the past?